Review: Montanya Exclusiva

Karen Hoskin’s Montanya Distillers is the American rum distillery you need to keep an eye on if you’re a sugar cane distillate fella. It’s located at about 2700 meters about the sea level in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, which influences the profile of the rum produced there given that distillation at a higher altitude can be achieved at a lower temperature due to the decrease in the atmospheric pressure.

Montanya is also certified B Corp which is the higher third party certificate a company can aquire in terms of environmental sustainability and practices. More about this on their website.

The most recent update from their blog is that Montanya recently acquired some barrels of aged rum made at Three Roll Estate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) along with their new Assistant Head Distiller from the same company, Megan Campbell – same person who distilled the rums in said barrels. The new rum will be blended with their Platino and Oro expressions and used to consolidate the current stock. No worries, it will be mentioned on the label where the bottles are blended.

Montanya makes all their rums from processed cane juice, I spoke about it in the Platino review – they basically boil and crystalize the sugar cane juice in order to be able to transport it from the Louisiana farms to the distillery. The result of the process is roughly 12% molasses and 88% unrefined sugar which are entirely fermented for around 6-7 days and then copper pot distilled. A pinch of honey (0.04%) is added to most of their expressions, but given the insignificant amount, I won’t turn up my snob nose at it.

Montanya Exclusiva is molasses and unrefined sugar based, fermented for about 6-7 days and copper pot distilled. Aged for 2.5 years in an ex-Colorado whisky barrel and 6 months in a French oak barrel that previously held Sutcliffe Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon and Port – making it a 3 year old. All the Montanya rums come from single barrels, there’s no blending involved, which is fairly impressive given the consistency. Bottled at 40% ABV and containing less than 0.28ml of honey per 700ml bottle.

On the nose there are some lovely red fruits notes. Blood orange, cranberries, ripe apples, pink grapefruit juice, freshly picked strawberries and raspberry jam. Dark chocolate, sour cherries, tobacco, basil and menthol. I’m not a wine fella, but it definitely has a red wine vibe going on. A little bit earthy with notes of damp cardboard and sweet chilli.

On the palate there are some lovely dark and rich flavours for a rum this young. Raw cacao nibs, ground coffee, chilli powder and strawberry jam. Quite spicy with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. Pencil shavings, Ruby Port, maple syrup and salted caramel. Finish is medium to long with coffee beans and sweet chilli.

An awesome rum from an awesome company. Not as intense as you’d expect from most pure pot still rums, it has a pot-column blend profile, so no crazy esters. Quite wood driven, yet balanced and I’m really enjoying the hot spiciness I get from it. Given the red wine profile I would recommend this in a Sweet Manhattan.

Can be found on Master of Malt for £45 which might be a little much, but given its provenance and the Montanya’s policies as a company, I do believe it’s worth supporting them.

Montanya Exclusiva score:
Flavour/taste: 52/70
Value for money: 14/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 81/100


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